March 6, 2015

Time for Exams!!

I don't think I've written about our school exams before.  Ambleside Online posted exam questions for each term of each year a couple of years ago, and I hadn't gotten my head wrapped around this whole CM education thing well enough before that do try it on my own, so he had no exams in year 1 and part of year 2.  The first time we did exams was a learning experience for us both, but he has learned to look forward to these light days.  The excitement of seeing what he remembers, getting to draw it, record himself and show it to Daddy makes for smooth and easy days. :)

Here is AO's suggested exam questions for yr 3.5, term 2, which we will be doing this afternoon and Monday (you can spread it out over a whole week, but at this age, it doesn't seem necessary).  As I rearranged some of the books, mine won't look just like that, but I am SO thankful that the initial work has been done.  Even when I followed the plan in year 3 exactly, I still had to tweak a few of the questions and simplify some things, so don't be afraid to make these exams your own, just as you do the curriculum.  One size does not fit all!

Here is our Year 3 Term 2 exam, from right about a year ago.

Here are his exam questions and results from term 1 of his 4th grade.  There was quite a bit improvement between this and the one linked above.  The thing to remember about doing an exam the Charlotte Mason way is that it isn't about getting everything right.  Its about seeing what is retained, and I as the teacher determining what can be changed in order for him to remember more.  Answering open-ended types of questions if much more difficult than multiple choice and true or false.  Starting at a young age means the mental strength for essay questions is developed all along, making speaking and writing more fluent in later years.
Example of a drawn narration, which he then describes aloud
In addition to what I transcribed in those files, I also recorded, or at least listened to, his read-aloud and recitation (poetry, Bible verses).  I keep it as light and fun as we can, and so far it has been amazing how different his attitude is towards exams verses those of public school (dread, eye-rolling, stress).  Let's hope it stays positive for many more years.

So how do you do exam time in your home?  Do the kids love it or loathe it?

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